Gazette letters: Spring blossom, roadworks, IOPC and rubbish bins

Blossom in Hackney. Picture: DAN SPLARN

Blossom in Hackney. Picture: DAN SPLARN - Credit: Archant

I go away for one week and London is transformed into a series of chocolate-box sugary sweet scenes, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Beneath the mildly warmer sun and blue skies of spring, the blossom has emerged, squeezing itself out of the lifeless twigs into an extraordinary pavement moulting of colourful petals.

Every street in Hackney feels transformed into a absolute riot of punks and whites.

From deep hued magnolia in the front gardens along Northchurch Street to glistening cherry trees lining Mildmay Grove, this neighbourhood’s streets are, for a couple of weeks, transformed into a lighter, more filmlike version of themselves.

I had further cause to stop and stare this week as, running through Hackney Marshes, I came across the twin pleasures of a crested egret (regrettably picking its way through litter on the bank) and a woodpecker (rivaling the A12 traffic with its thuds).

Having complained since December about our dreary winter, Hackney’s spring is so far succeeding in helping us forget those cold dark days.

I have read the article in the Hackney Gazette regarding Stoke Newington Church Street, with the possible added congestion due to the planned closure of the side streets to through traffic, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

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Part of the congestion problem can also be levelled at the seemingly never ending digging up of Stoke Newington Church Street. Recently for instance, there was a two week dig outside the cemetery near to the fire station closing the bus stop there, this apparently was for water works, at the same time there was also road works outside the pub at the junction with the High Street.

It seems to me that as soon as one set of works is finished then another set is started. This is especially true for the stretch between Kersley Road and Defoe Road. It appears that as soon as one side of the road has been dug up and then filled in then it’s the turn of the other side, often closing the whole of one side of the road with temporary four-way traffic lights also put in place.

If it’s not the road being dug up, then it is the pavement, with pedestrians having to walk in the road to pass. Another place that also seems to have more than its fair share of digging is Stoke Newington High Street, the bus lane or pavement seems to be dug up at disturbingly regular intervals just past the junction of Church Street.

At the moment another dig looks as though it is going to take place opposite Iceland as since last Saturday the kerbside lane has been barriered off reducing three lanes to two. There does not appear to have been any work done either on the carriageway or indeed on the pavement.

Why is it that these two roads, Stoke Newington High Street and Stoke Newington Church Street, appear to be in a state of being continually dug up for whatever reason? A couple of years ago Church Street was resurfaced and for a few weeks it was dead smooth without any potholes, but guess what, it now looks not unlike some of the scenes from the Somme battlefield of World War One.

So can we please have a little less digging up of these roads unless it is really necessary? If it is necessary, then get the job done even if it means working 24/7, rather than dig the hole and leave it and then come back and do a bit more then leave it again. No wonder the air quality is allegedly so bad, especially if traffic is help up by these seemingly never ending road works. Also, where there are parking restrictions in Church Street, why are they not enforced? It’s the stretch where Albion Road and Lordship Road meet.

On April 5 last year you headlined our letter about the shooting by police of a man in Mandeville Street on March 20 “How will the police be held to account? write Mary Pimm and Nik Wood, Gore Road, Hackney”.

Well, now we know. The Independent Office of Police Conduct has made no public announcement of its year-long investigation or findings. Instead it has handed the matter back to the Metropolitan Police to determine what it should do about itself (Gazette).

And, to mark this anniversary, the police shot another man, in nearby Knights Close on March 20 (Gazette story). Again, the IOPC has moved into its usual mode and we can presumably wait another year to hear that it doesn’t think it has found out anything worth telling us citizens about or taking any action about.

Last year we said “The record of...the IOPC, the CPS and The Met’s Professional Standards in finding truth, justice and accountability for the victims’ family is such a poor one that confidence in them is at an all time low.”

It is time for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his policing deputy, ex-Hackney Cllr Sophie Linden, to assert their authority. They should demand an full, public account from the IOPC and require it to facilitate effective accountability by our police to us, the taxpayers who fund them.

I have been asked by residents of Forburg Road to raise the following, writes Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB, Forburg Road, Stoke Newington, in an open letter to Hackney mayor Philip Glanville.

The many conversions of one home period properties in Forburg Road into three or more units have resulted in many houses having at least three wheelie bins.

The council planning department appears not to have made it a requirement of the planning permissions that provision was made for the storage of the wheelie bins within the curtilage of the property. Therefore. many residents store the wheelie bins on the pavement. Additionally, the council refuge department do not replace the wheelie bins to the curtilage of the properties and there is no clean up following their visits. This make it unsafe to walk the pavements and I would argue that the council are therefore failing in their duty of care by not following due diligence in this matter.

Would you kindly arrange for the following:

• Enforcement action to be taken to stop the placing of wheelie bins on the pavements and roads

• It, therefore, follows from the above that the council refuge department will be required to return, safely, respectfully and tidily the wheelie bins back.

• Planning permissions for additional units to require sufficient storage facilities within the curtilage of the property for wheelie bins.

At this stage of the Brexit process, I firmly believe the less said by local politicians the better and I intend to follow my own advice, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

I would urge the chancellor to freeze the business rate for retail premises at last year’s rate, this is essential as House of Fraser went bust and others are struggling. This will help them adapt to the age of the internet and will save some jobs which will otherwise have been lost.

Next the Labour Party may have understandably misled readers in your report on the Homerton Hospital. Like all hospitals it will retain the ability to do basic tests including blood tests that are required for its normal operation so the statement it could effect viability of the hospital is utter rubbish.

I am a public governor of Homerton Hospital (although I am not writing officially) and I support keeping the Pathology Laboratory at the Homerton for practical reasons and if Save Our Health Services gets involved it will reduce the chances of success because the issue will appear to be political when it is not.

In short the Homerton Pathology Laboratory provides services for other parts of the health service and urgently needs a significant amount of capital expenditure, a fact that is not in dispute. The question is not whether it takes place but where.

In 2014 I met The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, then secretary of state for health, and he was pleased to hear that I was a public governor of Homerton Hospital. We had an informal chat for about five minutes. A few months later he used the Homerton to announce a government policy change. On a different health.